Take a moment to picture your ideal life in retirement – everything from the car you drive to what you choose to wear on the weekends. Be as specific as possible and don't leave anything out. Once you do that, read on…
Create your vision
Now, reflect on your current lifestyle. Does it match your ideal life in retirement? No matter what your answer is, you probably desire something you currently don’t have.
Setting goals now (and into retirement) can help you achieve the lifestyle you seek. It can seem overwhelming, and, at times, even impossible to achieve some of your goals; but with a little planning, there’s a better chance you can make them happen.
First, you must understand the difference between short term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are goals you plan to achieve in the next six months to three years. Long-term goals normally are set for more than three years out.
Some of your short-term goals may help you achieve your long-term goals, or, some of your short-term goals may be "one and done" goals.
Let's say you want to pay off what’s left on your mortgage ($35,000) within three years. And you also want to help your grandkids pay for college within five years.
By paying down your mortgage, you’re freeing up more of your money to help your grandkids with school. If you pay off that $35,000 of mortgage debt, you then have two more years to put your income towards those college costs.
Often, your short term and long-term goals will work together to get you where you want to be. To have both goals work together, you must create a plan to achieve them.
Write down your goals and be as specific as possible. What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in six months? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Evaluate your reality
At Simply Money Advisors we stress the importance of a personalized financial plan. This plan you create with a trusted financial planner (we recommend a Certified Financial Planner™) can help map out your goals and how you’re going to reach them.
Your personalized financial plan lays everything out and helps you take the first steps towards achieving your ideal vision for your financial future.
Your financial planner will also help you evaluate your current reality. This will give you a starting point, so you can measure your progress. You can't know how far you’ve gone if you don't know where you started. Some factors your financial planner should look at:
- What’s your current income?
- How much debt do you have?
- How much are you contributing to your retirement accounts?
- What other financial responsibilities do you have?
- What does your budget look like? Do you even have a budget?
Track your progress
Now that you understand where you are and where you want to be, it’s time to track your progress! A trusted financial planner can help support you and guide you during this journey. He or she will also help you keep track of your progress. You can think of your planner as a coach, helping you to achieve your ideal financial future.
Some of your short-term goals will be milestones along the path towards your long-term goals. Each one you accomplish brings you one step closer to reaching your larger goals.
But sometimes, the day-to-day progress can be monotonous and you might feel like you’re not getting anywhere. That’s why, when you do achieve one of your goals, make sure you celebrate. By celebrating, you can remain motivated to hit your next goal.
The Simply Money Point
By determining what you truly want as you head towards retirement, your short term and long-term goals can work together. If you need help, consider working with a trusted financial planner to create a personalized financial plan that will help guide you forward.
And to learn more about how working with a Certified Financial Planner™ can help you reach your money goals, download our free guide.